May 28, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”—1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (ESV)
The kind of love the apostle Paul is asking the Corinthians to strive for is agape love—a love that is unselfish, undeserving, and not dependent on getting anything in return. This is the love Christ has for us. Here, Paul details the attributes of agape love, so we can learn to love like Christ.
I remember being saved 15 years ago, when I heard a teaching on this verse that has forever resonated in my heart. The pastor’s instruction was to write this verse on an index card but to substitute our name for the word love. We were asked to place the index card in a visible place for all to see.
It didn’t take much self-evaluation to realize I wasn’t nearly as loving as I thought I was. My goodness, patience alone is a daily struggle. Trying to be patient while driving in South Florida traffic can reveal one’s heart real quick (or is this just me?). This exercise completely convicted and challenged me in the most wonderful way. It tested me as a wife, a mom, a daughter, an employee, and even as a South Florida driver. Every time I fell short, I would remember with great amazement, agape is the type of love Christ showers me with—sinful, broken me!
Love is patient . . . It endures trials while waiting for God’s best (Genesis:12–23).
Love is kind . . . It’s respectful, helpful, considerate, and empathetic towards others (Luke 10:25–37).
Love does not envy . . . We can celebrate one another’s accomplishments without feeling like their success makes us inadequate (1 Samuel 18:1–5); envy rots our bones (Genesis 37:3–4).
Love does not boast . . . There’s no pride or selfishness attached to agape love. We’re not better than anyone else. The Bible states pride is destructive (Proverbs 16:18).
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful . . . It’s not easily angered. It overlooks someone’s shortcomings, especially when we know we have a ton of our own.
Love doesn’t delight in wrongdoing . . . We don’t celebrate evil, but instead truth.
Love rejoices in Jesus who is the Truth (John 14:6).
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is a statement of ultimate perseverance in the face of difficulties and hardship. All things . . . Wow! Not easy; however, if we only love when it’s easy what credit is that to our character (Matthew 5:46–47).
Agape love is far beyond our human capabilities. The capacity to love like this is only possible with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit transforms our hearts and minds. We can prayerfully ask Jesus to help us practice this and He will be faithful to answer. Just imagine a world where everyone loved like Christ!
Pause: Consider how life would change if agape love was central to all you did.
Practice: Grab two index cards. On the first one, write this Scripture and replace love with your own name. On the second one, write this Scripture and replace love with Jesus. Read them every day for two weeks.
Pray: Dear Lord, please help me reflect Your heart of love to everyone around me. Transform every part of my character that wars against this self-sacrificing love. Help my heart to soften as I read this verse every day for two weeks. Amen.
Deb Marsalisi is an author, public speaker, mentor and Fire Inspector. She began her writing journey to make peace with her challenging past. It has provided her with an outlet for creative self-expression, and a healthy new perspective on life.
Through God’s amazing grace, she has learned to rejoice in life’s ups and downs, struggles and victories understanding they’ve been given so she can help and inspire others on their own journey of restoration. Her passion is to support others in emotional and spiritual habits that are truly life-changing. She spends her free time loving, encouraging and mentoring young women to grow in their relationship with Jesus. And she also enjoys cooking amazing meals for her friends and family.